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How to create table/partition in Hive

Create/Drop Table and Partition Statements

Create Table

CREATE [EXTERNAL] TABLE [IF NOT EXISTS] table_name 
  [(col_name data_type [COMMENT col_comment], ...)]
  [table_comment]
  [PARTITIONED BY (col_name data_type [col_comment], col_name data_type [COMMENT col_comment], ...)]
  [CLUSTERED BY (col_name, col_name, ...) [SORTED BY (col_name, ...)] INTO num_buckets BUCKETS]
  [ROW FORMAT row_format]
  [STORED AS file_format]
  [LOCATION hdfs_path]

data_type
  : primitive_type
  | array_type
  | map_type

primitive_type
  : TINYINT
  | INT
  | BIGINT
  | BOOLEAN
  | DOUBLE
  | STRING

array_type
  : ARRAY < primitive_type > 

map_type
  : MAP < primitive_type, primitive_type >

row_format
  : DELIMITED [FIELDS TERMINATED BY char] [COLLECTION ITEMS TERMINATED BY char] 
        [MAP KEYS TERMINATED BY char] [LINES TERMINATED BY char]
  | SERDE serde_name [WITH SERDEPROPERTIES property_name=property_value, property_name=property_value, ...]

file_format:
  : SEQUENCEFILE
  | TEXTFILE

CREATE TABLE creates a table with given name. An error is thrown if a table with the same name exists. You can use IF NOT EXISTS to skip the error.

EXTERNAL keyword lets you create a table and provide a LOCATION so that Hive does not use default location for this table. This comes in handy if you already have data generated.

You can create tables with custom SerDe or using native SerDe. A native SerDe is used if ROW FORMAT is not specified or ROW FORMAT DELIMITED is specified. You can use DELIMITED clause to read delimited files. Use SERDE clause to create a table with custom SerDe. Refer to SerDe section of User Guide for more information on SerDe.

You must specify list of columns for tables with native SerDe. Refer to Types part of the User Guide for the allowable column types. List of columns for tables with custom SerDe may be specified but Hive will query the SerDe to determine the list of columns for this table.

Use STORED AS TEXTFILE if the data needs to be stored as plain text files. Use STORED AS SEQUENCEFILE if the data needs to be compressed. Please read more about CompressedStorage if you are planning to keep data compressed in your Hive tables.

Partitioned tables can be created using PARTIONED BY clause. A table can have one or more partition columns and a separate data directory is created for each set of partition columns values. Further tables or partitions can be bucketed using CLUSTERD BY columns and data can be sorted with in that bucket by SORT BY columns. This can improve performance on certain kind of queries.

Table names and column names are case insensitive but SerDe and property names are case sensitive.

Examples:

An example statement that would create a table would be like:

CREATE TABLE page_view(viewTime INT, userid BIGINT, 
     page_url STRING, referrer_url STRING, 
     ip STRING COMMENT 'IP Address of the User') 
 COMMENT 'This is the page view table' 
 PARTITIONED BY(dt STRING, country STRING) 
 STORED AS SEQUENCEFILE;

The statement above creates page_view table with viewTime, userid, page_url, referrer_url, up columns with a comment. The table is also partitioned and data is stored in sequence files. The data in the files assumed to be field delimited by ctrl-A and row delimited by newline.

CREATE TABLE page_view(viewTime INT, userid BIGINT, 
     page_url STRING, referrer_url STRING, 
     ip STRING COMMENT 'IP Address of the User') 
 COMMENT 'This is the page view table' 
 PARTITIONED BY(dt STRING, country STRING) 
 ROW FORMAT DELIMITED 
   FIELDS TERMINATED BY '\001' 
   LINES TERMINATED BY '\012' 
STORED AS SEQUENCEFILE;

The above statement lets you to create same table as previous table but the lines are delimited by '\012' instead of newline.

CREATE TABLE page_view(viewTime INT, userid BIGINT, 
     page_url STRING, referrer_url STRING, 
     ip STRING COMMENT 'IP Address of the User') 
 COMMENT 'This is the page view table' 
 PARTITIONED BY(dt STRING, country STRING) 
 CLUSTERED BY(userid) SORTED BY(viewTime) INTO 32 BUCKETS 
 ROW FORMAT DELIMITED 
   FIELDS TERMINATED BY '\001' 
   COLLECTION ITEMS TERMINATED BY '\002' 
   MAP KEYS TERMINATED BY '\003' 
   LINES TERMINATED BY '\012' 
 STORED AS SEQUENCEFILE;

In the example above, the page_view table is bucketed(clustered by) userid and within each bucket the data is sorted in the increasing order of viewTime. Such an organization allows the user to do efficient sampling on the clustered column - in this case userid. The sorting property allows internal operators to take advantage of the better-known data structure while evaluating queries, also increasing efficiency. MAP KEYS and COLLECTION ITEMS keywords can be used if any of the columns are lists or maps.

In all the examples until now the data is stored in <hive.metastore.warehouse.dir>/page_view. Specify value of the key hive.metastore.warehouse.dir in Hive config file hive-site.xml.

CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE page_view(viewTime INT, userid BIGINT, 
     page_url STRING, referrer_url STRING, 
     ip STRING COMMENT 'IP Address of the User', 
     country STRING COMMENT 'country of origination') 
 COMMENT 'This is the staging page view table' 
 ROW FORMAT DELIMITED FIELDS TERMINATED BY '\054' LINES TERMINATED BY '\012' 
 STORED AS TEXTFILE 
 LOCATION '<hdfs_location>';

You can use above statement to create page_view table which points to data location any hdfs location. But you have to make sure that the data is delimited as specified in the query above.

Inserting Data Into Bucketed Tables

The CLUSTER BY and SORTED BY creation commands do not effect how data is inserted into a table -- only how it is read. This means that users must actively insert data correctly by specifying the number of reducers to be equal to the number of buckets, and using CLUSTER BY and SORT BY commands in their query.

There is also an example of creating and populating bucketed tables.

Drop Table

DROP TABLE table_name

DROP TABLE removes metadata and data for this table. The data is actually moved to the .Trash/Current directory if Trash is configured. The metadata is completely lost.

Drop Partitions

ALTER TABLE table_name DROP partition_spec, partition_spec,...

partition_spec:
  : PARTITION (partition_col = partition_col_value, partition_col = partiton_col_value, ...)

You can use ALTER TABLE DROP PARTITION to drop a partition for a table. This removes the data and metadata for this partition. Partition value should be quoted only if it is a string.

alter table page_view drop partition(dt='2008-08-08', country='us')

Alter Table Statements

Alter table statements enable you to change the structure of an existing table. You can add columns, change serde, add table and serde properties, or rename the table itself.

Rename Table

ALTER TABLE table_name RENAME TO new_table_name

This statement lets you change the name of a table to a different name. The location of the data and the names of partitions do not change! In other words, the old table name is not "freed," and writing to it will alter the "renamed" table's data!

Add/Replace Columns

ALTER TABLE table_name ADD|REPLACE COLUMNS (col_name data_type [COMMENT col_comment], ...)

ADD COLUMNS lets you add new columns to the end of the existing columns but before the partition columns.

REPLACE COLUMNS removes all existing columns and adds the new set of columns. This can be done only for native tables. Native tables are those tables that are created with DynamicSerDe or MetadataTypedColumnsetSerDe serdes. Refer to SerDe section of User Guide for more information.

Add Table Properties

ALTER TABLE table_name SET PROPERTIES table_properties

table_properties:
  : (property_key = property_value, property_key = property_value, ... )

You can use this statement add your own metadata to the tables. Currently last_modified_user, last_modified_time properties are automatically added and managed by Hive. Users can add their own properties to this list. You can do DESCRIBE EXTENDED TABLE to get this information.

Add Serde Properties

ALTER TABLE table_name SET SERDE serde_class_name [WITH SERDEPROPERTIES serde_properties]
ALTER TABLE table_name SET SERDEPROPERTIES serde_properties

serde_properties:
  : (property_key = property_value, property_key = property_value, ... )

This statement enables you to add user defined metadata to table SerDe object. The serde properties are passed to the table's SerDe when it is being initialized by Hive to serialize and deserialize data. So users can store any information required for their custom serde here. Refer to SerDe section of Users Guide for more information.

Show/Describe Statements

These statements provide a way to query Hive metastore for existing data and metadata accessible to this Hive system.

Show Tables

SHOW TABLES identifier_with_wildcards

SHOW TABLES lists all the tables matching the given regular expression. Regular expression can contain only '*' for any character[s] or '|' for a choice. Examples are 'page_view', 'page_v*', '*view|page*', all which will match 'page_view' table. Matching tables are listed in alphabetical order. It is not an error if there are no matching tables found in metastore.

Show Partitions

SHOW PARTITIONS table_name

SHOW PARTITIONS lists all the existing partitions for a given table. Partitions are listed in alphabetical order.

Describe Table/Column

DESCRIBE [EXTENDED] table_name[DOT col_name]
DESCRIBE [EXTENDED] table_name[DOT col_name ( [DOT field_name] | [DOT '$elem$'] | [DOT '$key$'] | [DOT '$value$'] )* ]

DESCRIBE TABLE shows the list of columns including partition column for the given table. If EXTENDED keyword is specified then it will show all the metadata for the table in Thrift serialized form. This is generally only useful for debugging and not for general use.

If a table has complex column then you can examine the attributes of this column by specifying table_name.complex_col_name (and '$elem$' for array element, '$key$' for map key, and '$value$' for map value). You can specify this recursively to explore the complex column type.

Describe Partition

DESCRIBE [EXTENDED] table_name partition_spec

This statement lists metadata for a given partition. The output is similar to that of DESCRIBE TABLE. Presently, the column information is not used while preparing plans.

Create Function

CREATE TEMPORARY FUNCTION function_name AS class_name 

This statement lets you create a function that is implemented by the class_name. You can use this function in Hive queries as long as the session lasts. You can use any class that is in the class path of Hive. You can add jars to class path by executing 'ADD FILES' statements. Please refer to CLI section in User Guide for more information on how to add/delete files from Hive classpath. Using this you can define User Defined Functions.

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